Wednesday, 1 November 1978
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Faulkner: I have recently authorised increases in cross-channel air fares including the Dublin-London route effective from 1 November 1978. Normal fare levels are being increased by 6 per cent and the lower promotional fares by about 9 per cent. These increases fall short of fully compensating for increased costs of operating the air services between the two countries including anticipated cost increases in the coming year.
Aer Lingus are very conscious of the need to keep fares as low as possible and to this end a low advance purchase fare was introduced on cross-channel routes earlier this year. On the Dublin-London route this fare represents a 33 per cent reduction on the normal fare.
Mr. O'Donnell: Could the Minister indicate whether there has been an increase in the volume of traffic between London and Dublin since the last increase in fares was granted and, if so, the extent of the increase?
Mr. O'Donnell: Further arising, could the Minister indicate whether Aer Lingus have considered the introduction of a shuttle service between Dublin and London such as is in operation between London and Glasgow? In view of the high volume of traffic on it, the route  would appear to lend itself admirably to the introduction of a shuttle service which would automatically lead substantially to a reduction in the fares.
Mr. P. Barry: Deputy O'Leary was incorrect when he said that the dearest crossing in the world was that between London and Dublin. It is not; it is the one between Cork and London. Does the Minister consider that the pooling arrangement operated by the air companies serving the Republic is of benefit in keeping prices down?
Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: (Cavan-Monaghan): Is the Minister aware that as recently as yesterday it was stated on behalf of Aer Lingus that the Dublin-London route is by far the best paying route Aer Lingus have? If that is so does the Minister not think that the fare would bear reduction, or is it a case of this route subsidising other extensions of Aer Lingus?
Mr. Blaney: Since the duty-free facilities have been granted on these cross-channel routes has any cognisance been taken of the very high profits being so made and are they being set against the cost of running these aircraft to and from London?
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